Several months ago, I knew that I'd be quitting my job in the near-term future. So, in my usual particular fashion, I wrote my resignation letter and stored it on a file on my computer for when I'd need it. So that I'd have something nice to say...
At the same time, there were a few threads on the internal mailing list at work that I'd trolled on without actually explaining, and a few things I felt meant to be said.
Really, in the past five years, I've gone through a lot of good changes. My eyes were opened. Five years ago, the fire in my eyes had almost died out. Five years later, I knew that if I didn't make a big change, the fire would die out again. And, really, I'm glad I left when I did, because the last time I left a job, I was so retracted into my shell that I didn't even know my coworkers anymore. Even the ones who I used to be friends with...
Anyways, I thought I'd strip out a few things that you probably wouldn't care about and post my resignation letter that I spent a lot of time thinking about as I biked to interviews.
Yes, I really did show up to interviews on my bicycle...
...When I was twelve, I realized that the future could be an interesting place. With absolute certainty, I knew that this thing that was slowly growing out of tiny networks of modems and computers that was globbing together like a living organism into a giant thing was going to change the world. And, you know what, it did. I was that weird kid who talked about Apple IIs and modems and stuff.. and now most twelve year olds spend more time in front of a computer than I ever did as a nerd kid.
And all of us ... have helped build this future.
Two decades later, I've realized something else. With the same degree of certainty, I know that most of you won't be driving to work a few decades down the road.
I've been accused of thinking that only bikes and walking are acceptable forms of transportation. No, I just think that if you are going to go through all that trouble to lay down infrastructure for electric vehicles, it works a lot better to have them be electric light rail, since you have to build new infrastructure anyway. After all, if you've got a house with 200 amp service, your upstream capacity is designed around you using maybe 80 amps of that... and fast-charging electric cars will push neighborhoods over that, once there's enough of them.
Life is about choices, even the ones you haven't realized you've actually made until much later. I made the explicit line-in-the-sand statement a few years back that I would never work somewhere I would be forced to drive to. And, so far, this hasn't been bad. Less money spent on transportation means more money for everything else. I see this now, and rather like what it's done for both my life and career. After all, corrected for external factors, when you are in better shape, you score higher on intelligence tests.
Some of you will remember how I looked when I joined, almost but not quite 5 years ago. If you weren't here, here's a picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ybron/102435051/ I would get out of breath walking up a hill. Nowadays, biking 100 mile in a day is a cakewalk. Remember: I lost all of that weight while eating bacon for breakfast. Everybody at [work] sees me having a giant salad at lunch and assumes I'm a salad eater... but it's the bacon that fuels me for my day. Had I picked up an engineless VW Golf and converted it to electric power, I would not have lost this sort of weight. And electric cars are going to make the 101 and 880 traffic worse, not better.
So, overall, high speed rail and commuter rail is about picking between a string of pearls up and down the coast versus a messy pile of lard applied with a trowel. And my gut feel is that it will be easier to bring good electric rail service to a million people than it will to get a million people to spend a bunch of money on electric cars.
Do try to remember that while you look up and down a pair of CalTrain tracks and probably don't even see a train in either direction... because of the improved density and efficiency of the railroad, CalTrain is saving the state from having to add two or three lanes to the 101 that it probably couldn't add, even if it wanted to. Meanwhile, the MTC can find billions of dollars to make highways have marginally higher throughput, but tosses a pittance at CalTrain every year.
If you've ever seen Tron, you probably saw how the virtual-life programs mirrored the appearance of their real-world programmers. So ... my spirit will be in the code I left behind. Every day, in the data centers, there's me, except dressed in a skintight glowing spandex outfit, running around, blasting bits around.
Yeah, that's an image to leave everybody with. It's been fun!